What would you do with a monthly paycheck, separate and in addition to any other paycheck, earned for nothing other than citizenship and sufficient to cover your most basic needs? That’s basic income, and that’s what today should be about.
Labor Day should not be about demanding ‘more jobs’ or higher wages. Labor Day should be about struggling for the emancipation from unnecessary labor, unchosen labor, exploited labor. It should be a celebration for reducing working hours, getting more leisure time, more freedom outside of the market forces.
There is no free labor market when everyone is basically forced to find a job whatever it takes. Basic Income is the necessary precondition for allowing people to actually choose to enter or exit the labor market, and therefore to have a truly free economy.
May 1st is a day to recognize the contributions of the labor movement and its struggles and achievements over the years. Where unions once empowered labor and gave us the 40-hour week and the 8-hour day, globalization and advances in technology have eroded the ability of unions to effect change. As automation of the workplace continues to the tune of possibly eliminating half of all current jobs in the next 20 years, unconditional basic income represents the ability to empower labor on an individual basis. A newly gained ability to say “No” to employers, would have an undeniable effect on the sharing of profits through better wages, job conditions, benefits, etc.
The achievement of basic income would be the achievement of a new contract between employer and employee, including the empowerment of the employee to become their own employer. It would mean a new age of innovation and entrepreneurship, where all are free to pursue the goals they wish to pursue, and all work could be recognized for its societal value, instead of only paid work as it stands now.
Basic income is the future of the labor movement, and the policy we must all together now strive for in the 21st century.
To help the movement for basic income, join the growing community on Reddit, seek out your national chapter, or even organize your local basic income group, sign the Avaaz petition, become active in the global conversation through social media and in everyday social interactions, and on May 1st update your profile pics.
Use hastag #BasicIncomeNow in your social media
Join the event, choose your favourite icon and use it as your profile pic.
This is the century of technological emancipation from labor itself. We made it. We’re here. We need only actually embrace it. Unemployment is not something to fear. It is something to welcome.
- Without basic income, on the 1st of May we celebrate Human Labour Day.
- With basic income, tomorrow we celebrate Machine Labour Day.
2010 was the year that this action started.
There are many ways to support the idea and to help grow the movement for Basic Income. For one, take part in Basic Income Day by changing your profile photos and sharing basic income content across all social media networks on May 1st.
Icon design by Oliver Der, first published 2011 by Sylvia Mair and Oliver Der
- UBIE: basicincome-europe.org
- Twitter: @basicincomeEU
- BIEN: basicincome.org
- Twitter: @basicincome
- Facebook: overview of stablished facebook pages on basic income
- Reddit: /r/BasicIncome
To capture an image off the Internet, follow these steps:
- Click and hold (Mac) or right mouse click (PC) on on of the images below until a dialog box appears.
- Select “Download image to disk.” or select “Save this image as.”
- A box pops up asking you where you want to save the image to. Navigate to the folder in which you want to keep your images.
- Usually you’ll want to rename the image, giving it a name that will make sense to you a few months down the line. In the “Save image as” box, change the name of the picture to the name you have chosen. If you intend to use the image on a web page, make sure there are no spaces in the name you choose.
- If you are working on a Mac, also make sure that the name you choose ends in .jpg (if you are using a PC it will automatically insert this extension for you).
- Click on the “save” button. You now have an identical copy!
- Use the saved copy for upload to your profile picture on twitter, facebook or anywhere else.